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Lymphatic drainage, also known as manual lymphatic drainage (MLD), is a therapeutic technique that is viable as a potential treatment for fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia, which affects millions of people worldwide, is a chronic pain condition characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances, and tender points.

The exact cause of fibromyalgia remains unclear, which makes this a difficult condition for medical doctors to treat. Several factors, including inflammation, immune dysfunction, viruses and even trauma, have been postulated, but there is not clear understanding regarding etiology and pathogenesis.

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome, which means it is a mish-mash of various signs and symptoms, which when enough are checked off, the diagnosis is made. How fibromyalgia presents does vary from person to person, and the flares may present in varying intensities.

In terms of diagnosis, there should be a pain in four quadrants of the body for a duration of at least 3 months. And there should be 11 out of 18 specified points that should show tenderness upon palpation – it is common though for pain to show up in other areas.

Treatments options for Fibromyalgia

lymphatic drainage for fibromyalgia treatment

Treatments options may vary from person to person, but they should include the use of nutrition and soft tissue work.

Acupuncture is often touted as a viable treatment for Fibromyalgia, because it is often used to treat pain. But many patient who suffer from Fibromyalgia may find most forms of acupuncture to be over-stimulating. They may actually do better with gentler approaches.

Massage for Fibromyalgia

Some research has been done regarding the use of soft tissue work to treat fibromyalgia. For example, a recent 2014 review concluded with a resounding YES that soft tissue work is beneficial for fibromyalgia, especially in relation to helping with pain, anxiety and depression.

An earlier study comparing Regular Massage vs Lymphatic Drainage saw positive results for both in pain relief, general health and quality of life. But lymphatic drainage yielding slightly better results than normal connective tissue massage.

What is Lymphatic Drainage?

lymphatic drainage treatment for fibromyalgia

Lymphatic drainage therapy may offer a viable treatment approach for fibromyalgia due to its potential to alleviate these symptoms and promote overall well-being.

The lymphatic system is a crucial component of the body’s immune and circulatory systems, responsible for maintaining tissue fluid balance, filtering waste products, and supporting the immune response. In fibromyalgia, there is evidence of immune system dysregulation, increased levels of inflammatory markers, and impaired lymphatic function. Lymphatic drainage aims to stimulate the flow of lymphatic fluid, remove waste products, and reduce inflammation, potentially addressing some of the underlying factors contributing to fibromyalgia.

One treatment that may provide reprieve is Lymphatic Drainage for Fibromyalgia. Lymphatic drainage is a much gentler form of body work and you may actually feel better after a session. It is even more suitable when there is clear indication of blockage of your lymphatic system. This may include:

  • when a patient presents with low fluid metabolism and a certain heaviness about the body constitution.
  • when there is significant water retention in certain parts of the body.
  • when upon palpation, the therapist is able to detect lymphatic congestion in certain part of the body, e.g. the inguinal nodes or in the axilla.

Why Lymphatic Drainage for Fibromyalgia?

Here are several key reasons why lymphatic drainage may be a viable treatment for fibromyalgia:

  1. Reduction of Pain and Tenderness: Fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread pain and tender points throughout the body. Lymphatic drainage involves gentle, rhythmic massage techniques that can alleviate muscle tension and reduce pain. By promoting the circulation of lymphatic fluid, it may help clear out metabolic waste products that can contribute to pain and tenderness.
  2. Improved Sleep Quality: Many fibromyalgia patients suffer from sleep disturbances, which can exacerbate their symptoms. Lymphatic drainage has a relaxing effect and can help individuals achieve better sleep quality. Improved sleep may, in turn, reduce fibromyalgia-related fatigue and cognitive difficulties.
  3. Immune System Support: The lymphatic system plays a crucial role in the immune response. By enhancing lymphatic flow and drainage, lymphatic drainage may help to boost the immune system’s function. This is particularly important in fibromyalgia, as there is evidence of immune dysfunction in the condition.
  4. Decreased Inflammation: Inflammation is a common feature of fibromyalgia. Lymphatic drainage can help reduce inflammation by aiding the removal of inflammatory substances and by promoting the body’s natural anti-inflammatory processes.
  5. Stress Reduction: Stress can exacerbate fibromyalgia symptoms. Lymphatic drainage sessions are often accompanied by relaxation and stress reduction, which can contribute to overall well-being and symptom relief.
  6. Enhanced Detoxification: Lymphatic drainage helps to remove metabolic waste and toxins from the body. For individuals with fibromyalgia, improving detoxification processes can potentially alleviate symptoms and improve overall health.
  7. Non-Invasive and Safe: Lymphatic drainage is a non-invasive and low-risk therapy. It involves gentle, specialized massage techniques that are generally well-tolerated and safe for most individuals with fibromyalgia.


In conclusion, lymphatic drainage offers a promising avenue for addressing the complex symptoms of fibromyalgia.

By promoting lymphatic circulation, reducing pain and inflammation, and supporting the immune system, lymphatic drainage may provide meaningful relief for individuals living with this chronic condition.